I'm Ready for My Close Up
4:16 p.m. - 2006-12-02

When I was 10 and in the fifth grade, I started pressuring my mom to let me shave my legs and wear make-up. Most of the other girls in the class were already doing both, and I felt like such a dork with my fuzzy legs and uncolored face.

But no matter how many excuses or tears or whiny pleas I made, my mother stood firm. No shaving until I turned 11, and no make-up until I started the sixth grade. None. Most other girls would have simply shaved and hid it from their parents, but I was one of the few who actually respected was scared to death of my mom and dad. I'm not sure why 11 was such a pivotal turning point, but she wouldn't budge. Looking back, I agree with her, if for no other reason than elementary school seems way too young for girls to be slathering their faces with all that goop.

When my 11th birthday rolled around, I was ecstatic. As soon as I rolled out of bed I was in my mother's face, begging for some shaving cream and a razor. True to her word, she gave me both, and then sat me down and gave me instructions on the right way to go about it. "Your underarm hair grows in both directions, so you need to shave up first, then down."

I didn't get to start wearing make-up until after Christmas of my 6th grade year, but Mama made a big deal of it, gifting me with a Caboodles and all the foundations, blushes, and mascaras seperately. To my dismay, she didn't include eyeshadow, because she still thought I was too young. "You're going to have to wait until you're 14 for eyeshadow," she told me. (Again, I really don't know the reasoning behind that, but I sure did envy Staci and Layla with their gorgeous neon pinks and purples and blues.) Mom showed me how to apply it lightly and naturally, and I was thrilled with the results.

When I finally did get to start wearing eyeshadow (I think she caved when I was 13), I stuck to light browns and neutral colors. As I got older, I experimented with greys and some purples, and I got really good at creating all sorts of different looks with those simple colors.

In the past few years I've gotten a little more adventurous with my eye make-up, but I generally steer clear of the really bright colors. I've always been scared of looking like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show, so I'd stare longingly at the pretty palettes of greens and blues and pinks, but always ended up purchasing the same boring colors.

Until now. While browsing Flickr the other day, I came across this girl's pictures, and I was absolutely floored by how talented she is. Now, I know that a lot of those looks are pretty out-there for everyday wear (unless you're a Vegas Showgirl), but the application is GORGEOUS. And the colors! So bright! So funky! So not "appropriate" for a stay-at-home mom!

Now, here's the part where I must admit that while I love make-up, I've always thought it was pretty dumb to pay exorbitant amounts of money for it. Shelling out $30 for one eyeshadow seems ridiculous (not to mention out of my price range). Still, I've gone through enough Covergirl to know that no matter how much you apply, you're not going to get that kind of color. There's just not enough pigment in it. I saw that she was mostly using MAC, and I've heard and read that their pigments (loose eyeshadows) are really good. But...they're $30. EACH.

So, what's a girl to do? Go to Ebay, of course! Sure enough, there were plenty of MAC pigments for sale there, but all of the full sized ones were still way too expensive. But I saw quite a few listing for sample sizes (1/4 tsp.) that were $2 or less. A 1/4 tsp. doesn't sound like much damn eyeshadow, if you ask me, so I figured that I'd just give up on my dream of spectacular eye makeup.

But I meandered over to Makeup Alley to check out reviews anyway. Much to my surprise, the comments they had about the tiny little samples indicated that you could get 30 or so uses out of 1/4 tsp. So I spent an hour or so (between taking care of Ali) checking out the colors with the highest reviews, and then I ordered a few. And after I got those in and tried them out for a few days, I ordered some more. Now I have 25 colors to play with.

And people? They. Are. AWESOME. I'm officially in love with my eyeshadows. I've worn make-up every day for the past week, mixing and matching colors, figuring out what looks best together. Sure, there's no one around to really appreciate it, but I feel like a little girl playing dress-up, and it's so damn fun. You can mix the powders to create a new color, you can get different effects depending on if you apply it wet or dry, and you can be in your PJ's and still look positively glamorous from the neck up. Fabulous.

In case there's anyone else out there who hasn't tried these shadows yet, I'm going to give you a few tips:

1. Apply the shadows first. They're loose and highly pigmented, and you're going to make a mess of the rest of your face.

2. They don't stick that well on their own, so be sure to buy a tube of eyeshadow primer first. I highly recommend Urban Decay Primer Potion. It's awesome, and though the $14 price tag may seem a little steep, it's totally worth it. I fell asleep with my make-up on the other night, and the next morning, my eye-shadow still looked great. (The rest of my face, however, is another story entirely.)

3. Experiment. Even if you don't think two colors will look good together, it doesn't hurt to give it a shot. You may just come up with a really cool combination.

4. You know how I said earlier that dramatic eyeshadow isn't appropriate for all occasions? Disregard that, as long as you're on your own time. I know that your work place might frown on bright shadows, but on the weekends, you can wear whatever you want, WHEREver you want. Chances are you'll get a lot more compliments than you might think.

5. Don't wear it if you're not comfortable with it. There's nothing worse than spending the whole day worrying about whether someone is looking at you funny because of your appearance. I'm to the point where I really just don't give a damn anymore, but it's taken a long time for me to get this way. Yes, I have tattoos and piercings (and now I wear crazy eyeshadow), AND I have a baby, AND I stay home with her. Got a problem with that?

5. Have fun!

This totally out-of-the-blue, link laden, "where did THAT come from?" entry has been brought to you by a lovely bottle of Shiraz.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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I am: so very many things. A mother, a wife, a dreamer, a lover of animals and babies, a friend. I've been called a bitch, but if that's what you call someone who stands up for what they believe in and refuses to settle, then I guess the title fits.

loves: my family, horses, a full night's sleep, puppy breath, my daughter's laughter, thunderstorms, bubble baths, makeup, soft sheets, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, wine, massages, the written word, and sour straws.

dislikes: closed minds, depression, pimples, extreme heat, math, panic attacks, black licorice, doing laundry, white chocolate, gin, Bush.